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Chicago's HIV Prevention Justice Alliance Shutters Its Doors

Chicago's HIV Prevention Justice Alliance Shutters Its Doors

The network that strived for equity and inclusivity is coming to an close.

On August 13, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago announced that the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (PJA) would be sunsetting, effective on the same day. Many people felt that participating in the network was more than an activity — it was a calling.

For over a decade, PJA has been a force to be reckoned with, eventually growing to become a 13,000-strong network of HIV advocates, activists and health care providers. Those members fought for an equitable atmosphere in the HIV community, asserting that economic, racial, and social justice issues are addressed.

“We are saddened to announce that HIV Prevention Justice Allicance is no longer active,” the organization tweeted Aug. 14.

Ramon Gardenhire is Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. For Gardenshire, the farewell announcement felt mostly rewarding. “The first thought is that I’m truly humbled and honored to be involved in the work that PGA has done over the last 11 years,” Gardenhire told Plus, “to really highlight the issues about intersectionality around HIV and criminal justice and health care to really create a spotlight on those issues when nobody else is talking about them.”

Obviously, the efforts that the network stood behind are still far from being over, but many of those efforts have been absorbed by larger institutions. “Moving forward, we felt that the time was right that those elements have been so embedded into our movement now that many organizations are picking up the [mantle] to take that on and do it in such a robust intentional way, that we felt that it was okay that is was time to sunset PGA.”

As mentioned in the announcement, there are plenty of other resources to turn to for guidance and resources needed in the HIV community including AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AIDS United, Desiree Alliance, Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Coalition, Positive Women’s Network, SisterLove, Inc., and the Treatment Action Group.

Gardenhire explained that the network fell under the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “PGA’s role was primarily is to serve as convener,” Gardenhire said. “It had a steering committee made up of individuals across the country who were experts in a variety of issues from sex work to research to prevention to access to health care. They helped shepherd what the priorities were. They were on the forerunners of bringing marginalized communities and marginalized topics to the forefront.”

According to the farewell announcement, we are currently faced with “blatant assaults on our communities” which is one of the things PGA fought against.

“For instance, one of the things PGA did was holding a protest at a […] conference to make sure that the […] conference was going to include indicators about the transgender community in their prevention work, because up until that point, they hadn’t been doing that.”

 The members of PGA advise people living with HIV to contact the lead organizations behind the network in order to continue the effort improve their lives.



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Benjamin M. Adams